2015; Looking Back

All in all, 2015 has been a pretty good year for us all at The Passage House Inn. We’ve hosted lots of successful events, raised a fair bit of money for charity, established a variety of well received midweek ‘theme’ nights and generally, had a great time throughout! Before we continue to have a look at the highlights though, a thank you is definitely in order. Because none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the continued support of our much loved locals and the custom of every new visitor that stepped through our door this year. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you all so very very much!

We started the year with a series of themed cuisine nights to bring some cheer to the dreary British spring. It started with Pie Night at the beginning of March to coincide with British Pie Week then continued in style with mexican night, pizza night and vegetarian night. These were often fully booked and well received, not a bad way to start the year! Things continued in style with a celebration of the start of summer with our buzzing Sunday Funday on the 3rd May. Live music, delicious food and good company made for a cracker of a day.

August saw the annual Ferryman’s swim and our party followed not long after by a post-carnival music chillout session at the end of August. With music from El Payo, Alex Kumar and Five Finger Discount (and others), the rain stopped, the sun emerged and the atmosphere was electric as folk danced, ate good food, drank well chosen ale and generally enjoyed a most brilliant summer’s night by the river, to the soundtrack of some very talented musicians. 

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In honour of Mike, our fisherman’s platter!

As the seasons changed we were all grateful for a mild Autumn, especially when Halloween started to draw near. On the day, the sun shone and we hosted a day full of Halloween fun for young and old alike with the added bonus of raising over £500 for the very worthy Children’s Hospice South West. From apple bobbing and pumpkin carving in the day to witchy cocktails, live music and ghoulish fancy dress at night, a good day was had by all. 

halloween mashup

Now 2015 is nearly over but not before one last event…on New Years Eve, for the third year running, we are celebrating with the legendary Disco Picasso, a little different to your normal ‘disco’ with great music from all genres new and old. Dust off your dancing shoes and come on down to one of the best little pubs in Devon to see in the New Year with fine wine, good ale, brilliant music and the most excellent company.

And what will 2016 hold for us at the Passage House Inn? Well, we’ve got some ideas but we wouldn’t want to spoil the fun by telling you all now…so watch this space but be assured that there will be lots more good food and fun times to be had at our little slice on heaven, down on the banks of the River Exe in Topsham. Happy New Year everyone!

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Looking Ahead…

With all the hype and excitement that consumes December in the run up to Christmas, it’s easy to forget that we are also nearing the end of one year and the start of another. I’d hazard a guess that not many of us are spending much time reflecting on the last 11 months, mentally cataloguing the highs and the lows. Instead, in a post festive stupor, we turn our minds to it briefly on the 28th or 29th and hastily make some resolutions for how to repeat the successes and avoid repeating mistakes in the coming year.

I’m not sure where I stand on this to be honest. Obviously we don’t want to be in a sombre state for advent, musing too heavily on things. But on the other hand I like the idea of being a bit more intentional about marking the end of a year and the beginning of another. I think it is worthy of at least a bit more of our time and consideration. This annual event isn’t exactly an every day occurrence (obviously!) so would it be considered more respectful to be less superficial about it?

Having said that, maybe I’m thinking about it too much because I can’t deny that on the whole, folk do a good job with New Years Eve celebrations. Whether it’s a special meal at home with family or joining in a party at a local pub, it’s unusual to find people not marking the evening in some form. And maybe that’s enough, to be meeting with those you love, consciously gathering to see out the old and in the new. Maybe resolutions and reflections bog down the more instinctual urge to simply mark the event and then carry on. My resolutions certainly seem to be fairly repetitive year on year, suggesting that I should be working on continual self improvement rather than just making some lacklustre changes for January before sinking back into my status quo!

The Passage House Inn have been steadily gaining a reputation for putting on excellent events over the last few years and it looks like they’ll be continuing in style this New Years Eve. They’ll be putting on a disco and in the spirit of openness and community, will be offering free entry for the night. So if you don’t have plans yet, why not dust off your dancing shoes and head down there to see in the New Year? I guarantee it’ll be a great night, full of good ale, well chosen wine, lovely people and brilliant music. What more could you ask for?

This will probably be our last post before Christmas so on behalf of everyone at the Passage House Inn, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a most Happy New Year!

happy new year

Vintage vector designed by Freepik 

Seasonal Eating

Whilst writing elsewhere about an emphasis on shopping locally the other day I briefly mentioned eating seasonally and ever since I’ve been thinking about it and wondering what the realities are of how it affects our health and nutrition. This is particularly relevant as the Passage has launched their Winter menu this week. Why do we need a winter and summer menu? Why do we fancy salads and light meals in the summer but crave soups and carb heavy meals in the dark and cold of winter?

After a bit of research, some of the scientific (or at least theorised) reasons for eating seasonal food are that produce picked and consumed at the peak of their natural season is higher in nutritional value (see here and here), that eating locally is better for the environment as food miles are reduced, that it supports local farmers and businesses and that seasonal food is perfectly timed to help us adjust to the season we are in, for example, when we’re hot in the summer, hydrating foods like soft fruits, cucumber and watermelon help us cool down.

But if you’re still not convinced, there is the simple fact that seasonal food provides us with a wider variety in our diet and most importantly, it just tastes better! Have you ever had an out of season strawberry and were bitterly disappointed by it’s tartness? Or bought some tomatoes in January and experienced a weak watery excuse of a tomato in your salad? Food tastes best when it is in season, not when it’s been grown in artificial conditions in order to provide us with options that shouldn’t naturally be available at a certain time of year. If you are desperate for fresh raspberries in December that’s fine but you can’t get upset if they don’t taste as good as you’d hoped. If you enjoy your food, it is just common sense to buy in season so you can experience the best taste possible!

With that in mind, I was allowed a cheeky glimpse of the aforementioned new Winter menu for the Passage House Inn and boy, were there some dishes that got my mouth watering! They’re certainly catering to our autumnal eating desires with delicious sounding main meals such as Hunters Chicken, Shredded Beef and traditional Fish Pie. And in the sharing section, beef chilli nachos appear which certainly would do the job of adding a bit of heat when you’re feeling chilly (pun definitely intended!) You’ll be happy to know though that the some of their most popular seafood dishes remain on the menu and actually, I would argue that their incredible Ferryman’s Seafood Platter definitely has an all year round appeal. I was also intrigued to see that they’ve expanded their range of sauces to go with their infamously tasty mussels and you can now choose from creamy garlic, onion and white wine, lime, chilli and ginger or bacon, spinach and cream sauce. The latter especially seems like a tempting choice this winter to me!

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Squid, chorizo and white bean starter.
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Scallops, black pudding and crab mayo starter

So if you need a bit of cheering up as our the darkness starts to creep in to our afternoons or fancy a special night out with loved ones, why not pop down to the Passage to sample some of their culinary delights this winter? With delicious food, some of the friendliest staff you’ll ever meet and an amazing choice of ales, you won’t be disappointed. I’ll see you there!

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Ferryman's Seafood Platter, to share or not to share?!